Dom Laporte is an Ottawa-based artist whose work explores the limits of portraiture through a combination of traditional painting and mixed-media methods. Laporte believes that portraiture has a unique ability to transcend the artist’s individual voice—whether he’s painting a respected personality in the local hip hop community or someone he met while travelling in India, a single face can evoke a wide range of themes, emotions, and cultural backgrounds. In this way, his work is a celebration and an embodiment of the diverse identities and life experiences that he encounters.
Laporte has exhibited his work in solo, collaborative, and group exhibitions for nearly a decade, with shows in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, and Barcelona. As an honours graduate of Sheridan College’s Bachelor of Illustration, he was awarded first place in the James Lee Foundation’s annual National Art and Design Competition. He was also a national finalist at Art Battle Canada in 2017, a live speed painting competition. He is currently the “Art Chaos Block” Art Coordinator for Ottawa’s annual Glow Fair Festival.
Recently, Laporte has focused on large-scale mural projects for clients including The Canadian Museum of Science & Technology, Beau’s Brewery, The Toronto Raptors, OSICO (Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization), Adidas, and the City of Ottawa Light Rail Transit Project. His interest and experience in portraiture lends his large-scale projects an intimacy that emerges from his interest in connecting with the people and places that he portrays. Laporte’s work has always been inspired by his direct surroundings—mural painting pushes this practice further by encouraging experimentation with new style combinations that best reflect the built environments and dynamic communities of each mural’s distinct location.
DOMINIC LAPORTE: PRANAYAM
4 April - 11 May, 2019
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 11, 2019, 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM
The word pranayama is comprised of two Sanskrit words: prana meaning life force/breath and ayama meaning restrain control/extend. It is a principle that focuses on consciousness, the body and insight into the self. This exhibition presents a new series of paintings by Ottawa-based artist Dominic Laporte which centers on the idea of the self and how it is represented in art.
Drawing inspiration from the diverse people he encountered during his travels in India, Laporte’s portraiture captures profound emotions through careful recordings of facial expressions. As a narrative of the people he met, this series is not an exoticized portrayal of Indian culture; rather it encapsulates Laporte’s experiences and the relationships he formed as a welcomed visitor within this community. What makes a portrait truthful? Even when a portrait captures a person’s likeness, the representation is still guided by the underlying relationship between sitter and artist.
Historically, portraiture was a way to pay tribute to nobility and religious figures. Laporte’s subjects are everyday people, but they are presented in authoritative postures that evoke the tradition of the genre. In Mother of Paper Maker, for instance, the woman looking back from the canvas has an aureole surrounding her head, comprised of a layered circular paper collage, to denote divinity. Through a combination of painting and mixed-media techniques, Laporte takes the tradition of portraiture and turns it into something unique. The artist uses these tools to create a series of powerful works that capture the essence of pranayama and the complexity of identity.
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